BIG SKY FOOTBALL KICKOFF: Eastern Washington's Kupp is cream of the crop
PARK CITY, Utah -- Eastern Washington junior wide receiver Cooper Kupp has accomplished a lot in his two seasons in the Big Sky Conference. In his first 28 career games, he has 197 receptions for 3,122 yards and 37 touchdowns. Most of that produc...
PARK CITY, Utah -- Eastern Washington junior wide receiver Cooper Kupp has accomplished a lot in his two seasons in the Big Sky Conference.
In his first 28 career games, he has 197 receptions for 3,122 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Most of that production, though, came with the help of standout quarterback Vernon Adams, who has left EWU to take his chances in his last season at the University of Oregon.
Kupp, though, is confident in Adams’ successor. Jordan West played in seven games last season as Adams missed time with an injury.
Against UND in Cheney, Wash., West passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles beat North Dakota 54-3 in the career debut of UND quarterback Keaton Studsrud.
“I’m excited,” said Kupp, who was named the Big Sky’s preseason offensive player of the year on Monday at the league’s annual kickoff event. “Obviously, playing with Vernon was awesome. We loved playing with him. But I’m confident in what Jordan can bring to the table. I think he’s going to come in and do a great job.”
West passed for more than 1,000 yards and hit nine touchdowns in his backup role in 2014.
“He had those four games of live experience,” Kupp said. “He played well. That was a huge thing for him to get those reps with the guys. Going into this year, he shouldn’t have the jitters. He knows what it looks like.”
Kupp, a junior from Yakima, Wash., has claimed conference first-team and All-America honors in both of his seasons with the Eagles. The 2013 Jerry Rice Award winner, he had 104 receptions in only 13 games, turning them into 1,431 yards and 16 scores. He led the league in all-purpose yards.
Although Adams was one of the top players in the country, Kupp said he still has a capable passer in West.
“Jordan has the biggest arm I’ve ever seen,” Kupp said. “He’s thrown some 72, 73 yards the other day. He can be a leader on the team. He’s stepped into that role this offseason. He’s a little more of a pro type quarterback. He can see over the offensive line and read coverages. That’s something I haven’t seen in my time at Eastern.”
Kupp will see both of his college quarterbacks in Eastern’s season opener against the Ducks in Eugene on Sept. 5. The Ducks expect Adams to compete for the starting quarterback role this fall.
“It’ll be interesting,” Kupp said. “But I think it’ll be fun. I know our defense will be up and ready to go.”
Big Sky honors
Idaho State led the Big Sky with six players on the preseason all-conference team.
Kupp was named preseason offensive MVP, while Southern Utah defensive end James Cowser was tabbed as the preseason defensive MVP.
A select group of media members and sports information directors voted for the 30-player team and award winners.
Cowser, a senior from Fruit Heights, Utah, earned first-team all-conference and All-America honors at defensive end last year after setting a Big Sky single-season record with 28.5 tackles for loss. The former record of 28 was set by Idaho State standout and current NFL player Jared Allen.
Idaho State’s league-leading selections included running back Xavier Finney, center Christian Diehm, wide receiver Madison Mangum, defensive tackle Tyler Kuder, outside linebacker Mario Jenkins and safety Taison Manu.
Cowser and Kupp were two of the five unanimous selections to the team, joining Northern Arizona fullback Nick Butler, EWU offensive tackle Clay DeBord and NAU cornerback Marcus Alford.
UND, represented by linebacker Will Ratelle at the Big Sky kickoff event, did not place any players on the preseason team.